• Battle lab conducts limited objective experiment

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  • Maj. David Dilly | Mission Command Center of Excellence
    The Mission Command Battle Lab’s Science and Technology Branch partnered with Product Manager Tactical Mission Command to conduct a limited objective experiment July 17-21 with the Army’s next generation mission command application, the Command Post Computing Environment.
    A dozen soldiers with a variety of branches and levels of experience from the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate, the School of Advanced Military Studies, the Command and General Staff College, the Information Operations Proponent and the Missouri Army National Guard participated in the five-day experiment.
    CPCE is one of the six computing environments of Common Operating Environment — the Army’s efforts to establish industry-like common hardware, software and data standards. By implementing Common Operating Environment, the Army aims for a common operating picture of the battlefield displaying a similar “look and feel” across platforms and echelons. CPCE lays the foundation for the COE by providing a command post solution as the integrating centerpiece of data and common operating picture at the tactical level. Currently slated to field in fiscal year 2019, CPCE will provide a new mission command interface along with additional coalition interoperability capabilities.
    During the five-day experiment, the soldiers trained, conducted practical exercises and conducted limited operations as brigade and battalion staff representatives. Experiment participants were able to comment on how the new CPCE software enabled them to conduct individual and staff collective tasks. The soldiers were able to give their comments and provide this direct feedback to engineers to improve the next software version.
    The experiment garnered user feedback on learnability, trainability and usability related to building content, collaboration, managing current operations, and data.
    “We will take their feedback and make adjustments to our program and ultimately field a better product to the warfighter,” said Lt. Col. Shermoan Daiyaan, Product Manager Tactical Mission Command.
    Although the CPCE software had initially been revealed to CGSC students this past April, the limited objective experiment was the first time soldiers had been given an early version of program training and were allowed to plan and execute with little guidance.
    “This is the type of engagement and experimentation the lab needs to sustain,” said Col. Craig Berryman, director of the Mission Command Battle Lab. “We are here to support the PM community by providing critically honest and useful feedback to their development efforts.”
    The MCBL provides a tailored environment, experiment and analysis capability for programs such as CPCE to enable early user engagement before attempting formal evaluation. This semi-controlled environment affords developing programs a chance to see how different artifacts fare under various circumstances. For the soldiers who participated, it was an opportunity to see new and emergent technologies with the knowledge their input can have positive, influential and lasting effect on the Army’s future Mission Command applications.
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